Wednesday, August 22, 2012


The following is from Jerry Stewart who hailed from a small town in southeastern Iowa.  Weight had been a factor in his life since birth and as we'll hear from him, it's been the cause of some pretty harsh treatment over the years.

"It might have been the longest day of my life", said Jerry Stewart.  Those were Stewart's words as he looked back on the recruiting process after graduating from the University of Minnesota.

"I'd spent an earlier recruiting session being humiliated by a little gal who was a recruiter for a marketing firm who in so many words, told me, I was too fat", he said.  "After a long time reflecting as to whether I'd ever put myself in that cattle process again, I sucked it up and went for a second session.  This time I met someone who worked for a company who looked at me as a person first.....who said they were very interested in me and implied weight was not an issue.  The recruiter told me they'd let me know before they left campus that night whether the job was mine".

Stewart spent the hours after his meeting bouncing thoughts back and forth in his head.  Was he this, could he be that, would he be given a chance, gosh, if he could just get an opportunity....he'd shine.  Those words kept playing through his conscience back and forth.  And then the phone rang.  It was 11 p.m.   He hesitated in reaching for the phone figuring he already knew the answer.  In fact, he had the words already on the tip of his tongue..."thank you, thanks for calling.  I wish I could come to work with you, but I understand.  Thank you..."

But something happened after reaching for the receiver.  Stewart was hearing things in his ears he'd was having trouble putting together.  He had to shake himself inside to listen closer.  "Mr. Stewart, we'd like you to come to work for us.  As I mentioned in our interview, you'll be given a nice yearly compensation and benefits package which we can spell out later.   But are you interested?"  

Stewart paused for a short time and thought of all the abuse he suffered in high school being the fat boy and the semi-seclusion he'd put himself through in college.  He thought long and hard and the word that hit him was finally.  Finally, he was getting an opportunity to be someone.  Maybe now, the attitudes would be different toward him and he'd feel different about himself.  "Yes", he said.  "Yes, sir I sure am".  He heard the words as he said them half in a trance.  It was like all this was happening to someone other than Jerry Stewart.  "Wow.  Finally.  Finally", someone had confidence in my abilities", Stewart said.  As Jerry laid his head on the pillow that night, he had a different sense of his life.  And he let out a great big sigh.  One that was no doubt heard back in Bullyville in southeastern Iowa, his hometown.  Yes, it was a restful night of sleep that night.

In the coming days, Stewart packed for his return to Iowa where he would enter the job force.  Jerry was getting more nervous by the day.  Probably because he didn't know what he was walking into......what his boss would be like and what the other employees would think of him.  All pretty important stuff.  Mid-week came and it was time to leave his northern home.   Small Bullyville he liked to call it, but Bullyville all the same.  As the van pulled onto Interstate 35 heading south...Stewart felt nauseous.  Something wasn't right.  In addition to having an upset stomach, there was something else at play here.  But....there was no turning back.  Stewart had made his decision and what was ahead was his future.  Whatever it might be.

The trip and the move into his 2-bedroom apartment went smoothly.  His neighbors seemed friendly but somewhat aloof.  Jerry chalked that up to people wanting to keep to themselves....not anything about him per see.  And then came the first day of work.  And the realization of why he had felt sick days before.

"I walked into the office complex about 7:30 that first morning", Stewart said.  "I wanted to get there early and look around and get my nerves under wrap.  I let out a big rush of air as I entered the door.  And as I did I heard someone say..."hey big fella, we're not open yet".  "That's alright", I said.  "This is my first day of work and I wanted to come early", Jerry stated.  "Oh", said the voice again. "I'd have you sit in the waiting room, but I'm not sure the chairs will hold your weight.  You'll probably have to stand until someone else gets here or wait outside".  

Great, thought Jerry.  Not exactly the greeting he'd hoped for.  Great.  Was this place going to be another Bullyville?  "God, I hope not", he said out loud.

Tell me what gives you the right, to make people feel so small.
What have they ever done to you, usually nothing, nothing at all.
Do you even realize the pain and suffering your actions cause?
I doubt you even notice, as you look to your friends for applause.
Not one of us is perfect, we all have our faults.
But don't use our imperfections as hurtful remarks or taunts.
It's the differences between us that makes us all unique,
From the color of our skin or hair, to the accent in which speak.
Once safe at home your victims alone break down and cry.
Some even feel there's no way out, and that they'd rather die.
Imagine being a parent and finding the child you adore,
having taken their own life, now lying lifeless on the floor.
Some suffer on in silence, afraid to speak out, alone and sad.
Was this really your intention to make someone feel that bad?
It's true that sometimes things are said that start off as a joke,
But you can cause such humiliation from unkind words you've spoke.
So just stop for a moment before bitching or poking fun,
As the damage that your words can do can never be undone.
For each of us is guilty when we ignore the things we see,
Thankful that they chose today to pick on you and not me.
Are we really all that heartless not to help when we see them cry?
Nowadays bullying has gotten worse, it's all gotten out of hand.
And the only way to stop it is for us to make a stand.
So be honest, take a good look at yourself, then ask yourself aloud,
Are you really the kind of person, of who you can be proud?-Rowan Geering, age 12




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